How can you identify a cockroach smell in your car?

I’m a bit worried that this used car I bought may have a slight cockroach infestation. I’ve only seen a few cockroaches, but the car has a weird smell that I can’t quite put my finger on. What do cockroaches smell like?

Eric Schad · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Not only do cockroaches emit an unpleasant smell, but their fecal matter does as well. You can identify a cockroach smell in your car if you smell something musty, oily, and pungent. It hangs around in the air as well—even if you air out the car, the smell will linger as long as the source of the smell remains.
To get rid of the cockroaches in your car, use these tips:
  • Thoroughly clean your car. Don’t leave anything untouched. That means you should take out the trash, use car cleaners, vacuum the vehicle, and even give it a steam cleaning.
  • Exterminate the cockroaches with baits. You can pick these up at any general store or hardware store for a few bucks.
  • Once you stop seeing cockroaches, vacuum and steam clean the car again, making sure to remove feces and any dead cockroaches.
  • Use an odor neutralizer and air out your car to remove any remaining smells.
If you need some extra cash to detail your car after the infestation or fix your car up, start by updating your
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